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This Time from Africa: Developing a Relational Approach to Values-Driven Leadership


  • Mar Pérezts

    (Emlyon Business School & OCE Research Centre)

  • Jo-Anna Russon

    (University of Nottingham)

  • Mollie Painter

    (Nottingham Trent University


The importance of relationality in ethical leadership has been the focus of recent attention in business ethics scholarship. However, this relational component has not been sufficiently theorized from different philosophical perspectives, allowing specific Western philosophical conceptions to dominate the leadership development literature. This paper offers a theoretical analysis of the relational ontology that informs various conceptualizations of selfhood from both African and Western philosophical traditions and unpacks its implications for values-driven leadership. We aim to broaden Western conceptions of leadership development by drawing on twentieth century European philosophy’s insights on relationality, but more importantly, to show how African philosophical traditions precede this literature in its insistence on a relational ontology of the self. To illustrate our theoretical argument, we reflect on an executive education course called values-driven leadership into action, which ran in South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt in 2016, 2017, and 2018. We highlight an African-inspired employment of relationality through its use of the ME-WE-WORLD framework, articulating its theoretical assumptions with embodied experiential learning.

Suggested Citation

  • Mar Pérezts & Jo-Anna Russon & Mollie Painter, 2020. "This Time from Africa: Developing a Relational Approach to Values-Driven Leadership," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 161(4), pages 731-748, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:161:y:2020:i:4:d:10.1007_s10551-019-04343-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-019-04343-0

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    2. Ernestina Rubio-Mozos & Fernando E. García-Muiña & Laura Fuentes-Moraleda, 2020. "Application of Ecosophical Perspective to Advance to the SDGs: Theoretical Approach on Values for Sustainability in a 4S Hotel Company," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(18), pages 1-24, September.
    3. Debmalya Mukherjee & Saumyaranjan Sahoo & Satish Kumar, 2023. "Two Decades of International Business and International Management Scholarship on Africa: A Review and Future Directions," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 63(6), pages 863-909, December.

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